AN: Warning—this is a filler chapter—more soon.
The Trouble With Love
Two: When Stars Collide
The morning sun burned into the small of his back, so he sighed, and flipped over. Slowly, he opened his eyes, and stared up at the water-stained ceiling that hovered above him.
He smiled, as almost immediately, thoughts of Monica filled his mind.
She'd agreed to coffee, and they'd stayed up half the night talking. He'd never connected with someone so intimately, so quickly, and while his initial reaction was panic and uncertainty, he soon began to realize that this time, everything was different. This time, there was no doubt in his heart.
She was The One.
He'd kept these thoughts to himself, of course, as he listened to her talk about her brother, and about her parent's nasty divorce when she was just a child. The stress of the divorce had had a profound affect on her, and she gained nearly thirty pounds in under a year. She'd spent most of her adolescence being picked on and made fun of, but he could see that the experience had made her stronger—she was determined, confident, and willful—and he adored that about her. He'd asked about her father, and her face darkened, when she revealed that her mother had cut off all ties with him, and that she hadn't seen him in years. She'd asked about his, and she told her what he knew—his father had been killed in a car accident when he was a boy. He had very few memories of his father, and his mother never spoke of him. They'd talked into the night, until the early morning light lined the horizon, and the sounds of a city slowly waking shattered their perfect night.
Chandler sat up, and rubbed the sleep from his eyes, before shuffling out of his bedroom and into the living room. He looked at the clock on the VCR—it read 11:30. Normally, he'd be annoyed by the fact that he slept away his one day off, but he felt that it was worth it this time.
He wondered if she was still asleep?
He looked down at the telephone, and struggled with his urge to hear her voice—to see her again. Before he knew what he was doing, he lifted the phone from the cradle, and stared down at the grey keypad, his eyes dialing her number over and over again. Sighing, he shook his head, and re-placed the receiver into the cradle.
Was he trying to scare her off? Calling her a few hours after their date would certainly do that—it would certainly scare her much more effectively than one of Joey's plays would.
No, it was too soon.
He picked up the receiver and dialed.
She sighed, and rolled over, her head heavy from lack of sleep. She groaned slightly, then sat up, and swung her feet off of the side of the bed.
A small smile played on her crimson lips, as she scooted off the bed and pulled on her robe. She took a deep breath, and closed her eyes, as thoughts of Chandler floated through her mind.
He was funny, and charming; humble in a self-deprecating kind of way. When he smiled, she melted, and she wondered if he'd felt the same connection he had—it seemed so immediate, and it scared her slightly.
She certainly hadn't been expecting it.
A knock on her door pulled her from her thoughts.
The door opened, and her brother walked in.
"Ross, I just woke up."
"It's almost noon, Mon," Ross scolded, as he plopped down into her olive reading chair.
"You are so impatient," Monica shook her head, and pulled her robe around her.
"How'd it go last night?" Ross asked.
"Fine," Monica shrugged, and turned away from Ross, her brow furrowed.
"Mom's gonna want more of an answer, sis," Ross arched an eyebrow.
"It was fine, okay?" Monica spun around, and glared at her brother.
"Hey don't get all snippy with me. This wasn't my idea!"
"Ross—" Monica's phone rang, interrupting the siblings. Monica sighed and glared at her brother, indicating she wanted privacy. He sighed dramatically and stood to leave, as she picked up the receiver.
"Monica? It's um…its Chandler…from the uh coffee place?"
"Yes, I know," Monica laughed, "believe it or not, I only know one Chandler."
Chandler laughed uncomfortably, and Monica smiled. She turned to see Ross standing her doorway, a broad grin on his face. She scowled at him and shooed him out hastily.
"I hope I'm not overstepping any, err, boundaries by calling, I just—"
"Not at all," Monica smiled, as she closed her bedroom door in Ross' face, "I was hoping it was you when the phone rang."
"So…would you like to meet for lunch?"
"I'd love to, Chandler," Monica grinned, her heart racing.
"Do you want to meet at our coffee place in an hour?"
Our coffee place. Monica giggled silently, and covered her mouth to mute the sound. She felt as giddy as a schoolgirl, and only when Chandler spoke again did she realize she'd never answered his question.
"Oh! Yes, I'll meet you in…forty five minutes at our coffee place."
Chandler laughed, "Okay, see you then," he managed, then waited for Monica to hang up the phone.
"Okay. Bye," Monica said softly.
"Bye." Chandler, sure she had hung up, put down the phone, just as Nora walked into the apartment.
"Well good morning, sleepyhead," Nora smiled, and set her grocery bags down on the coffee table, "you had a late night last night."
"Yeah," Chandler replied dreamily, as he flopped onto the sofa, "I met someone."
Nora's eyes widened, and she quickly sat down next to her son.
"Really? Tell me all about it!"
"She's…perfect," Chandler sighed, and smiled at his mother, "she's just…it's like I've known her all my life…ya know?. He sobered slightly, and cocked his head to the side, "Are you feeling better?"
"Me? I'm fine…but honey, I think there is something we need to talk about."
Chandler swallowed hard, and sat up straight, "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah…there's just…there are some things I need to explain to you."
"Oh…okay. What's going on?"
"It's…it's about your father."
Chandler's brow furrowed, as Nora took a deep breath, then looked down at her hands.
"What about him?"
"I told you that he was dead…that he died when you were young. That wasn't…entirely true."
"What do you mean, not entirely true? Is he alive?"
"No…not anymore. He…he left us, Chandler. He walked out when you were a child, and I didn't want you to think he abandoned you—I thought I was protecting you," Nora spoke quickly, her eyes never leaving her lap, "And then…he got more famous, and I didn't want the press to bother you, so…so that's why you have my name, and not his."
"I can't believe you lied to me," Chandler whispered incredulously.
"Honey, you have to understand, I did this to protect you. When Charles left, I was sure I'd never see or hear from him again!"
"Mom—why are you telling me this now? Who is he?"
"Charles Bing, the movie producer. Charles is your father, Chandler."
Chandler stared at his mother, dumbfounded. What was she talking about? How could some famous Hollywood guy be his father?
"Is…is this some kind of joke? Because it's not funny, Mom," Chandler's voice cracked, and he stood up stiffly.
"No…it's not a joke. Charles is…was your father. He remarried about seven or eight years after he left us…to some money-hungry divorcee. And I was sure that he had forgotten all about us, but…"
"But…what?" Chandler was shaking, his body reacting to the shock of his mother's bombshell.
"He left almost everything to you."
"Ross, get away from my door!"
"Mom wants to talk to you—are you going out with Chandler again?"
"Yes…I'm meeting him for lunch."
"Don't go scaring him off, okay?"
"Look Ross, just let me do this, okay?"
"But if you screw this up—"
"Ross…this guy—he's a really nice guy, and I don't want to hurt him!"
"Who says you have to? He called back…so he must like you a little."
"This is so stupid! Why do I have to get married? And why him?"
"You don't get your share of the money if you don't get married. Don't look at me, Mom's the one who married the wacko who came up with all these provisions! At least this way you get everything. Don't you want that chateau in France?"
"Yeah," Monica relented, and sunk onto her bed, "but I don't want to—"
"Monica, look—technically, this Chandler guy doesn't even deserve his inheritance! He didn't have to deal with Charles and his weird ways all of his life, ya know?"
"Charles wasn't that bad, Ross. And Chandler doesn't seem to know anything about him—he told me that his mom told him that his father was killed."
"Are you sure he wasn't lying?" Ross asked, skeptically.
"Yes! Ross, I don't even think he knows about the will!"
"Nora didn't tell him?"
"Well, he doesn't technically get the money until next year—maybe she's trying to protect him or something."
"Right," Ross scoffed, and stood up, "You'd better go talk to mom."
"Right," Monica sighed, as Ross left the room. She turned and looked out of her bedroom window, overlooking Central Park. Her mind was reeling. How was she going to explain all of this to Chandler? Would he even understand? Did he somehow already know?
She shook her head, her throat clenching as she came to one undeniable conclusion.
This was going to end badly.